Norfolk Man Sentenced to 74 Months in Prison for Theft of Government Monies and Aggravated Identity Theft
NORFOLK, Va. – William George Cooper, 56, of Norfolk, Va., was sentenced today in Norfolk federal court to 74 months in prison for theft of government monies and aggravated identity theft and ordered to pay $201,295.60 in restitution.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, made the announcement after Cooper was sentenced by United States District Senior Judge Robert G. Doumar. Cooper previously pleaded guilty to these charges on March 6, 2012.
According to court documents, beginning in the early 1980s, Cooper stole the identity of another individual named William B. Cooper. The two men both were born in Norfolk in 1956, were neighbors, and grew up going to school together. The victim died of natural causes in 1989. In 1980, Cooper used William B. Cooper's name, Social Security Number, and date of birth to fraudulently enlist in the United States Army. Cooper was unable to enlist using his own identity because he previously had been convicted of a separate fraudulent enlistment, as well as armed robbery, in 1972. After serving 19 months under William B. Cooper’s identity, Cooper was discharged. On the basis of this brief period of service, Cooper applied for medical and other benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Beginning in 1997, he then utilized William B. Cooper’s personal identifiers and qualifying work history to apply for and obtain Title XVI Supplemental Security Income benefits and Title II Disability Insurance benefits from the Social Security Administration. From 1997 until 2010, Cooper received Social Security Administration benefits under two identities: his own, and that of William B. Cooper. In total, Cooper received over $200,000 in benefits to which he was not entitled.
This case was investigated by the Social Security Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs. Assistant United States Attorney V. Kathleen Dougherty prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.uspci.uscourts.gov.